The key, for most people, is getting something built quickly, effectively and at a reasonable cost. Since the Internet is a huge and competitive marketplace, there are a number of tools and techniques which can ease the pain of website construction. Let's look at a few of these options in greater detail.
This is, by far, the easiest option in terms of time invested. Whether it's from a web design shop up the road or an Indian university student, you can get anything from a simple three page site to an articulate and interactive merchandise catalog. If you decide to go this route, the key is to be precise and get it in writing. This does not mean that you need to know exactly what you want and / or need in advance – there are a lot of talented web designers out there. The best ones will help you refine, and often enhance, the ideas that you have floating around in your head.
Use software to ease the pain
If you do decide to build it yourself, do not crack open your favorite text editor and start hand coding HTML. There are a number of good software suites, both free and commercial, which are geared specifically towards designing websites in a drag and drop, what you see is what you get fashion. Fire up Google and search for "content management systems", "website builder" or any of a thousand different variations on those terms. You are sure to find something that will suit your needs. Most of these pieces of software have templates which are almost infinite customizable. Use them – they will get you a professionally designed look for a fraction of the price.
Read a book
Another inexpensive way to get started is to use the dead tree method. Head to your local bookstore, or better yet, your local library and start digging. As I said before, there are thousands of people and businesses who have built simple and effective websites. Any market that large is going to attract a fair number of "how to" and "basics of" books. The key here is to pick something recent and something that's been well reviewed on sites like Amazon or Barnes and Noble. The major problem here is that it takes more time to read and apply the techniques set forth in a book than it does to learn a piece of software or pay someone to do it for you. But if you are going to be building multiple websites, or just plain want to learn how all the nuts and bolts work, you can do a lot worse than a good book.
Be standards compliant
The Internet was built on a series of standards which defined the way computers communicated with one another. This set of standards continues to evolve to this day and is governed by several organizations including the International Standards Organization (ISO) and the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). Regardless of whether you build it yourself or pay someone else to do it, ensure that you comply with these standards. Adhering to them will make your site easier to maintain and change in the future, help with portability across different devices (like a PDA or a smartphone) and increase accessibility for surfers with disabilities.